Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Don't Ask

Every time I do an interview, I'm asked the same question: how's the Internet affecting the art world? This is what I told the editors of the blog, Art Is Moving, in a recent two-part Q&A:
"There are two powerful effects the web has had on every business. The first is that it has created in the audience a desire for instant gratification: you hear about something and you want to know more – or you want to buy it – you can, immediately, no matter where in the world you are. The second is that it has caused a revolutionary process of disintermediation – eliminating or lessening the power of the middle men who once used to hold sway over artists (in the broadest sense of the world) by claiming control of networks of distribution and promotion.
"Now the audience is no longer 'mass' but individual – a million-fold audience of just one – and the artist has the means to open a direct dialogue with it, to transact with it, without any need for someone to act as their broker or gatekeeper."
Inevitably, this leads to another question, also always the same: what's the role of the gallery in this environment? And, as always, I argue that it doesn't have one. Or as I put it in Art Is Moving: "It deserves to die. It's an anachronism that's outlived its usefulness. I think there is still a role for individual curators or even 'show producers' but they need to work in a more individualised, specialist way within a networked 'virtual' paradigm ..."
To be more precise, I still see value in public exhibitions and installations but not produced, promoted or managed in the way they are today – the same way they have been for a hundred and fifty years – by
dithering, technologically inept, socially aspirational and unadventurous commercial 'bricks and mortar' gallerists.

9 comments:

swine said...

the same idea goes for publishing--an old dinosaur about to go extinct.

the same idea went for the music business.

the online world is great for artists.

sarahelizabeth said...

Galleries will evolve, not every gallerist is the same.

gapingvoid said...

Ah! I think you made a new fan today. Great stuff!

Hugh MacLeod
http://gapingvoid.com

Evan said...

Die is an awfully harsh word - evolve may be a better one.

Amazon.com is booming (their main product is books)

iTunes, pandora, MySpace; the music biz is different, but not dead

How can galleries change there model to better fit the online space? One truth hit the music industry especially hard, but to my knowledge has not made it to Art yet...

-- Copies have no value---

but from this outsider's perspective, copies seem to be a big part of the art business. How can galleries catch up?

How about

--Digital versions?
--HDTV "screensavers"?
---subscription service?

Michael Radcliffe said...

Hear hear.

andrea said...

The death of the 50% gouging, bottom-line driven commercial gallery will be a happy one. Hope I live to see it.

Gary said...

As a high-tech CEO, I designed an anti-piracy music and movie player for Walt Disney and Warner Music Group. Their traditional methods of delivering content, by CD and DVD, was coming under attack by pirates who were downloading all of their recordings and movies for free. So yes, the world is changing and the brick-and-mortar gallery will need to change and adapt. But, at the end of the day, hanging art work on physical walls in a gallery will always have its place. High-value artwork, in the multi-$thousands or $millions of dollars, is never going to be sold in a pure web venue, at least not in the foreseeable future. A smart gallerist can adapt to the changing environment, it's a matter of survival at this point, but again, their physical gallery is a foundation space for every artist, they won't make it by the power of web alone.

Gary said...

As a high-tech CEO, I designed an anti-piracy music and movie player for Walt Disney and Warner Music Group. Their traditional methods of delivering content, by CD and DVD, was coming under attack by pirates who were downloading all of their recordings and movies for free. So yes, the world is changing and the brick-and-mortar gallery will need to change and adapt. But, at the end of the day, hanging art work on physical walls in a gallery will always have its place. High-value artwork, in the multi-$thousands or $millions of dollars, is never going to be sold in a pure web venue, at least not in the foreseeable future. A smart gallerist can adapt to the changing environment, it's a matter of survival at this point, but again, their physical gallery is a foundation space for every artist, they won't make it by the power of web alone.

Rasul Sha'ir said...

Yes! love it, love it, love it...


Rasul Sha'ir
http://thresholdblogazine.com